Climate Change Adaptation

Student with butterfly

An overwhelming amount of evidence shows that the earth’s climate is warming. This means that communities everywhere need to grabble with changing conditions, and they need guidance about how to adjust so that we can preserve human life, ecosystems, and economic values. To provide this guidance, research on so-called “climate change adaption” is crucial and timely. While the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to slow and stop climatic warming, our program focuses on identifying the need for and the methods of adapting to a warming world.

The Adaptation Program enables adaptation decision-making by managers, governments, and private parties through its work on climate change risk assessment, development and testing of adaptation strategies, and information delivery.


For example, several ECI researchers are using the greater Chicago area as a test bed for adaptation in the built and natural environments of cities. ECI scientists also manage an online community, called the Collaboratory for Adaptation to Climate Change that enables, researchers, students, and managers to analyze and discuss adaptation planning and strategies. And ECI staff, via ND-GAIN produce an annual index of country-level exposure to climate change and the capacity for adaptation, including the sectors of global health, agriculture, ecosystems, water, and infrastructure. Numerous partners collaborate with ECI researchers on these and other projects, including government and university scientists, non-governmental organizations, and private corporations.





Graduate students are welcome to join the research program through the laboratories of ECI-affiliated faculty.

Faculty Investigators

Research Staff



Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index honors unique climate-linked projects

September 27, 2014 • Author: William G. Gilroy • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation


In Senegal, efforts to counter the effects of rising sea levels and ocean storms have produced a dike that reclaims hundreds of acres of land for rice. A seawall protects homes, and beach restoration is saving thousands of tourist-related jobs. In India, Indonesia, Kenya and Vietnam, a unique social venture called “Healthy Family” helps address barriers to health care access such as the limited distribution of medicines.

These two separate and unique projects have won the University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index’s coveted 2014 Corporate Adaptation Prize. The annual award reflects contributions to awareness, science or action in creating resilience to climate change and applies to multinational and local corporations working on projects in countries ranked below 60 on the ND-GAIN climate adaptation index.

The 2014 winners, honored at a New York City event at Baker & McKenzie in connection with Climate Week NYC and the United Nations Climate Summit, are:

  • The Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE), based in Senegal, for its projects in three urban coastal areas with economic importance for fisheries and tourism and affected by coastal erosion. The project is a partnership between the Centre, the Senegalese government and Dynamique Femmes, among others, and is financed by the Adaptation Fund.
  • Novartis International AG for creating Social Ventures — shared-value business models that complement philanthropic and zero-profit initiatives — and its Healthy Family initiative that uses both social and business components working together to create sustainable solutions.

The Absence of Political Scientists on the Frontlines of Adapting to Climate Change

July 08, 2014 • Author: Debra Javeline • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation and Transportation Networks, Climate Change, and the Spread of Invasive Species

Bridging the Climate Adaptation Gap: From Recognition to Action

May 08, 2014 • Author: Joyce Coffee • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation


Joyce Coffee, Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index Managing Director, opens last year’s ND-GAIN Annual Meeting.

Recent data indicate that a gap exists between corporations understanding the big-picture risks of climate change and their actions to address those risks to shore up their bottom line.

Supply Chains in the Face of a Changing Climate

April 30, 2014 • Author: Joyce Coffee • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation

The economic damages from weather-related disasters continue to climb worldwide, and will continue on that path. Proactively, organizations are making strides to anticipate and prepare for these climatic shifts.

Early April, Unilever CEO Paul Polman made a public statement calling for “decisive action to tackle climate change in order to secure the future of businesses and people around the world for years to come.” Unilever’s own response is a leading example of companywide sustainability plans, and includes a goal ofsourcing 100 percent

Climate change a growing concern for companies expanding their footprint

April 28, 2014 • Author: Joyce Coffee • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation

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